Love, Legends, and Selfies: Unraveling the Mysteries of Valentine's Day
Hey there ladies! Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and whether you're coupled up, flying solo, or somewhere in between, it's the perfect time to dive into the fascinating history and modern-day hype surrounding this day of love. So grab your avocado toast and your iced latte as we explore the origins of St. Valentine's Day and the ever-evolving beliefs and practices around romantic love and chivalry.
The Story Behind St. Valentine's Day
Alright, so let's start with the basics. St. Valentine's Day isn't just about heart-shaped chocolates, instagrammable proposals and cheesy Hallmark cards—it actually has some pretty ancient roots. Back in the day (we're talking ancient Rome here), there was this wild festival in mid February called Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. During this festival, young men would strip naked and run through the streets, striking women with strips of animal hide in the belief that it would increase their fertility. Yeah, it was pretty wild.
Fast forward a bit to Christianity swooping in and trying to put a more wholesome spin on things. They named February 14th after St. Valentine, a mysterious dude who may or may not have been a romantic rebel. Legend has it that he performed secret marriages for soldiers and their sweethearts, which was a big no-no back in the day. Another story says he fell in love with his jailer's daughter and sent her a love letter signed "from your Valentine" before he bit the dust. Either way, St. Valentine became the OG patron saint of love, and his day became synonymous with romance. It was believed that birds began to mate on February 14th, further enhancing the holiday's romantic connotations. By the 18th century, exchanging handmade cards and tokens of affection became a common Valentine's Day custom in England and other parts of Europe.
Romantic Love and Chivalry in the Digital Age
Now, let's fast forward again to the 21st century, where swiping right is the new courtship ritual and emojis are the language of love. Our generation has a whole new set of beliefs and practices when it comes to romantic love and chivalry, and it's equal parts fascinating and, let's be real, a little confusing.
On one hand, we've got the rise of self-love and independence. Gen Z and Millennials are all about empowerment and breaking free from outdated gender norms. We're embracing self-care, self-love, and being perfectly content flying solo. Who needs a knight in shining armor when you've got a killer skincare routine and a killer group of friends?
But on the other hand, we're still suckers for a good old-fashioned romance. We might roll our eyes at cheesy rom-coms, but deep down, we're all secretly hoping for our own Noah Calhoun to come sweeping us off our feet. And hey, there's nothing wrong with wanting to be treated like a princess every now and then, right?
Then there's the whole digital aspect of modern romance. Social media has completely revolutionized the way we connect and communicate, for better or for worse. We've got dating apps where we can find a potential soulmate with just a swipe, and Instagram-worthy proposals that are more about the perfect selfie backdrop than the actual moment itself.
But hey, who says romance is dead? We've still got couples posting cute pics together, writing lovey-dovey captions, and tagging each other in memes. And let's not forget about the grand gestures—like surprise trips, candlelit dinners, and even flash mobs (because why not?).
One of the most common customs associated with Valentine's Day over the years is the exchange of cards, flowers, and gifts. According to the Greeting Card Association, approximately 145 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged each year in the US alone, making it the second-largest card-sending holiday after Christmas. Roses, particularly red roses, are also a popular symbol of love and passion, with florists experiencing a significant increase in sales leading up to Valentine's Day.
Dining out at restaurants has also become a popular Valentine's Day tradition for many couples. Restaurants often offer special Valentine's Day menus and romantic ambiance to cater to the influx of diners looking to celebrate the occasion with a romantic meal.
In addition to romantic gestures, Valentine's Day has also evolved to encompass other forms of love and affection. Many people take the opportunity to express appreciation for their friends and family members with thoughtful gifts or gestures of kindness. This broader interpretation of Valentine's Day as a day of love for all has led to the rise of alternative celebrations such as Galentine's Day, a day for women to celebrate their female friendships, popularized by the television show "Parks and Recreation."
Annie and I both have partners, and we love ‘em but neither of them are particularly great at the romantic gestures so we’ve decided the best way forward is to have low expectations of them and buy our own Valentines gifts. We’ve got lots of options on the website for you to do the same 😉
While Valentine's Day is celebrated in many countries, the customs and traditions vary widely from one culture to another. In some countries, such as the United States and Canada, the emphasis is on romantic love, with couples exchanging gifts and sharing romantic dinners. In others, such as Japan and South Korea, Valentine's Day is observed in a more gender-specific manner, with women traditionally giving gifts to men on February 14th and men reciprocating a month later on White Day.
In Denmark and Norway, Valentine's Day is celebrated as a day of friendship and camaraderie rather than romantic love. Friends and loved ones exchange handmade cards and gifts known as "lover's cards" to show appreciation for each other's friendship.
The Future of Love and Chivalry
So, what does the future hold for love and chivalry in the modern day? Who knows, really? Maybe we'll see a resurgence of old-school romance, complete with handwritten love letters and grand gestures straight out of a Jane Austen novel. We all love us some Bridgerton after all. Or maybe we'll continue down the path of digital love, with virtual reality dates and holographic boyfriends.
One thing's for sure, though: love will always be a timeless and universal experience. Whether it's expressed through a grand romantic gesture or a simple act of kindness, love has the power to unite us all, regardless of age, gender, or background.
So this Valentine's Day, whether you're celebrating with your soulmate, your squad, or just treating yourself to some much-needed self-love, take a moment to appreciate the beauty and complexity of love in all its forms. And hey, if all else fails, there's always chocolate and jewellery of course. 🍫💕
We love Haigh’s Choccy here, or Koko Black 😊